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PHD908 Critical mathematics education: teaching and research

Course description for academic year 2022/2023

Contents and structure

The course is an optional part of the PhD study Studies of Bildung and Didactical Practices. It is aimed at students who wish to specialize in mathematics education. The program will provide insight into and knowledge of research traditions in critical mathematics education. This is because mathematics education in schools creates social guidelines for how people can interpret, act and live their lives. Studies of how societies mathematise, transform language and interpret can provide insight into how people both form culture and are culturally formed. The aim is to strengthen the students' foundation for seeing relationships between critical learning, critical teaching and critical research and education. It will provide insight into how critical research is oriented towards specific problem areas, which methodologies are operationalised and how these requirements produce the research results.

The course's content elaborates on critical mathematics education as a perspective for both didactic research and mathematics practice. The course material examines the concepts of Bildung and pedagogical practices within a critical perspective. This involves studying how mathematics affects society and how the social function of mathematics could be conceptualized. Critical mathematics education explores the impact of mathematics education on the development of democracy and democratically educated citizens in a multicultural society.

Learning Outcome

After completing the course the student has the following learning outcomes:


The student

  • Is in the forefront of knowledge in research in critical mathematics education
  • Know the value of relevance and use of research methods in critical mathematics education
  • Understand how the new terms, interpretations and new forms of documentation related to research on mathematics practice can be developed


The student

  • Can develop, plan and conduct research in mathematics education practice field, oriented in national and international research
  • May create appropriate research design in relation to research theoretical perspective
  • May vary research methods and challenge established knowledge and didactic practice

General competence

The student

  • Can undertake and communicate research work in accordance with academic ethical premises
  • May create trans-disciplinary research and development project
  • May initiate mathematics education development

Entry requirements

Completed master in Mathematics Education or equivalent.

Teaching methods

The teaching normally runs over one semester. The course can also be held over a shorter, intensive period with a view to making it relevant for students from other institutions. The instruction is organised in the form of lectures, seminars and guidance. The course work is related to the students' own PhD project. It is expected that students participate actively in all aspects of teaching. National and international orientation takes place through literature, through study tours and conference participation. During the course students prepare a text shaped such as a conference paper for a recognized scientific conference.

Compulsory learning activities

Individual oral presentation in preparation for designing the conference paper.


Against the background of the course's content and literature students should individually deliver a conference paper. The text must meet requirements set by a recognized, scientific conference, nationally or internationally. It is assumed that students link the paper to their own PhD project. The article can for example report an empirical study, discuss theoretical or methodological issues, or give an analytical literature review of an actual topic, where one of the course's topics is used to take a critical perspective. The text will be directed towards possible conference participation. Such participation is not a prerequisite for evaluation. Evaluation criteria will be given at the start of the course. 

Grading scale: pass/fail.

The conference paper will be assessed by internal and external examiners, based on criteria designed by the selected conference and in line with the learning outcome descriptions for the subject.

Examination support material


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